Over at Knuckledraggin’, Kenny posted this interesting gif:

…and it got me thinking.

I’ve never bought into the whole jewellery thing.  It’s not just my long-time hatred of the loathsome De Beers diamond cartel and their criminal business practices (although that certainly plays a part), but there’s a part of me which just applies commonsense and cynicism to the whole ethos of “precious” metals and stones.

The “metals” part I can sort of understand because they at least have useful properties for some applications, and ditto diamonds when used industrially (cutting, grinding and what have you).

But as decoration?  What a load of old bollocks.  Wearing diamonds as decoration, in necklaces, pendants, bracelets and (ugh) engagement rings is really just a way to say, “I’m rich and can afford to spend money on these useless baubles as a way to show off my wealth”.

In the old days, jewellery was used by royalty to show their social superiority over their subjects.  Nowadays, when some illiterate oaf who is able to string a series of mumbled rhymes into a “song” can load up his neck, chest and teeth(!) with gold and diamonds — well, that kinda devalues the whole thing, doesn’t it?  Except that’s precisely the point  of expensive jewellery.

I don’t care much for most modern terminology / slang, but I love the word “bling” because it describes perfectly the inherent emptiness and worthlessness [sic]  of slapping shiny rocks onto everything in sight.

Don’t even get me started on those tasteless morons who load up their (already-expensive) wristwatches with jewels, driving the price into the stratosphere for absolutely zero  added utility*.  Here’s one example:

“MasterGraff Ultraslim Tourbillon” (AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

And when I said “stratosphere”, I wasn’t kidding.  I don’t know the cost of the above — Graff is remarkably (and understandably) coy about publishing prices for their watches — but one of their other timepieces (which is too ugly for me to picture here) went on sale for $55 million.  Small wonder that these and their ilk are the preferred watches of drug kingpins, Arab oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs — breeds not known for their exquisite taste — because that is the target market of all jewellery:  people with newly-acquired wealth who have to show it off.

In a way, though, I’m glad that these parvenus pricks buy into this nonsense, because it enables us to label them, correctly, as “suckers”.

So when somebody looks at a diamond pendant and sniffs, “Glass”, I’m the guy who replies, “Who cares?  It looks just as pretty.”

And if it gets lost or stolen, you can simply shrug and buy another one, more or less with the loose change in your pocket, while the owner of the identical-looking “genuine” diamond item has to open negotiations with the insurance company.

Next week:  art.

*Longtime Readers, by the way, know that I love expensive watches — my “lottery” watch is a Vacheron Constantin Royal 1907 (retail: ~$50,000) — but that’s (much) less than the sales tax  one would pay for Graff’s foul “Hallucination”.


  1. Was so glad to find out early on that my wife of 36 years does not do jewelry.
    The wedding ring I bought her cost $100 at Service Merchandise in 1984 and has been in the dresser drawer for almost as long. I have never worn jewelry and even stopped wearing a watch in the late 80’s. I’m far too utilitarian to be encumbered by baubles of any kind and believe displaying ones wealth front and center can be catastrophic. IOW, the whole jewelry thing is adolescent and silly.

    1. A man after my own heart. I too have never cared for jewelry past the point of my high school class ring.

      When my wife and I were married, I spent parts of my working days at a lathe, so did not wear my ring. Plus, I just KNOW that it would be only a matter of time until I took it off somewhere to wash the grease, dirt, whatever off my hands, and it slipped and went down a floor drain or some such. So it resides along with all else I hold dear, in my gun safe.

      The only wrist watch I ever bought was while I was when I was in the reserves back in the ’80’s. I bought a $10 Casio and an OD velcro wrist band with a flap that covers the watch. It sits on my desk as I type this, still running on the original battery. Gains about a minute every year. I have always like pocket watches, even though I don’t wear one, likely because they remind me of times past. While stationed in West Germany in the ’70’s, I went to a local shop and bought a gold pocket watch. Still have that one too. I should get a vest to go with it.

      My high school class ring? Not long after I graduated, I took it off because it was uncomfortable inside my ski glove. I secured it (I thought) inside the flap pocket on my ski shirt. At the end of the day, it wasn’t there. AFAIK, it is still up there on the ski slopes of Squaw Valley.

      1. “…OD velcro wrist band with a flap that covers the watch…”
        HA! I was stationed in Germany 74-77 and bought a Fortis watch then and through an Easy Rider magazine I bought a leather buckle watch band that had a leather snap flap to protect it. In the early 80’s it went in the dresser. About 10 years ago I put that watch and band on ebay with a $100 opening bid and people from all over the world emailed me making offline offers. I accepted one from a guy in the US for $3000. He got it all cleaned up and posted it on a watch collectors site. Apparently it was very rare and I never had a clue. Think I paid about $200 for it in 1976.

        1. Do tell. Same here. Pinder Barracks (Zirndorf) 74-77, 156 Maintenance Co., Small Arms shop. Where were you?

          Nice score on your watch. Blind hogs and acorns. As the saying goes, “If I’da knowed, I’da bought 10”.

  2. I wear a Seiko Kinetic and have for more than 20 years, although I had to replace it once when I shredded my first one low siding a motorcycle on a concrete road. The dang thing still worked with the glass gone and the steel road rashed. She who must be obeyed didn’t want it around though. It reminded her what nearly happened to me.

    After a couple decades, the company I worked for gave me a Rolex Oyster Date. Beautiful, though not in price ranges you’re talking about. Two problems, it doesn’t keep time as well as the Seiko, and gold hands on a gold face don’t work for these old eyes. I only take it out for the very occasional special occasion. ~$200 worth of Seiko is fine for me.

  3. I’ve been told that in many repressive cultures jewelry is about the only form of personal wealth a woman can possess. Everything else is “owned” by her husband but the necklaces and ear rings are hers. So that bling may constitute an emergency stash of get out of Dodge or feed the kids cash.

    My wife likes shiny stuff. Thankfully not real expensive shiny stuff. Many years back she looked at my stainless steel Smith 640 and said “That’s your shiny stuff.” Then she pointed at her jewelry box and said ” This is mine. ” Well okay, works for us.

    I’ve worn wristwatches all of my life -Timex back when things were tough. Tried the tactical super cool low end Casio G Shock line and found them to be junk. So I’m back to the Seiko ‘s – the favorite watch of any older guy who served in the Far East. I just wish that they were still $29.95 for the expensive ones at the Navy Exchange.

  4. It does provide a source of portable and/or secure wealth whether it be Jews fleeing Europe or middle-class Indian women wearing their family’s assets.

  5. When I went back to work in 2009 mostly for health insurance benefits and was paid a reasonable amount of money to intake and repair Montblanc pens I was employed by Richemont the parent company in their watch repair center out by DFW airport. Lots of nice watch brands repaired there like Cartier, IWC and Vacheron Constantin and we worked in a positive air pressure building to keep dust our going through metal detectors and double airlock doors getting into the huge repair area after leaving all metal in our lockers. They furnished velcro belts, nice shoes with no steel or metal and our personal watches were listed on the back of our ID cards which we had to present to the armed guards each time we went in. Sounds like a lot of silly crap doesn’t it?

    At my bench I repaired fountain pens valued up to $50,000 because of they were limited editions with lots of diamonds all over them and the regular limited editions had gone up in value to a couple of grand. One of my good friends who shared out lunch table came by my bench one day, she worked the customer contact desk for Vacheron Constantin and she handed me a nice, not to big ladies watch, Art Deco design, and as I held it she asked to guess the retail which of course I had no idea, I said $100,000 and she said nope, try $275,000 and the woman who owned was bitching because it needed a bench charge of $800 to be dismantled and cleaned so it would keep decent time again.

    Out admin people had to deal with newer owners of mechanical watches all of the time when they were disappointed that their super expensive trinket watches would not keep accurate time like the battery operated inexpensive Timex and Swatch watches. At time they would ask it the movements could be changed out because it was also frustrating for them to own a watch that needed constant movement to keep running. Of course people who collected these nifty complicated watches unstop they needed electric watch winders to store their watches where they could be under constant movement because if you have a watch that has the date, time, month and phases of the moon the last thing you want is for it to stop and be reset.

  6. I’m not a jewelry guy either. Indeed, I think most men aren’t. When men buy expensive jewelry mostly it is either to please a woman or as an investment.

  7. Misplaced our pirate treasure bag. We bought a few sapphires of various colours also rubies CZ’s ~ 5c per carat raw ~ 15c cut plus 50c per carat cutting in Sri Lanka. These days ebay is similar.

    The stone I like is the amethyst colour CZ’s – amethyst with the dispesion of diamond

  8. I found the inexpensive jewelry I could buy in Korea back in the 80’s worked wonders as gifts to various ladies I knew at the time (including the future CINCHOUSE). I don’t care for it myself but if it makes the ladies happy…..

    I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $100.00 on a watch (and that was a dive watch when I was stationed in Hawaii and was SCUBA diving regularly).

    I’ve found that the Casio and Timex digital watches were more than adequate for the various tasks I’ve needed over the years (navigation, aviation, communications coordination, satellite tracking etc.)

    I don’t consider a watch as jewelry, but as a tool much as a Swiss army knife. I still wear my Timex Expedition whenever I go out as it provides the timing functions I need more quickly and effectively than pulling the Damned Yuppie Toy (phone) out (if I have it on me) and punching though various menus.

  9. I like high-end watches, but my taste runs to aviation chronographs. Understated functionality…and taste. I alternate between an IWC Fliegerchronograph and a Bremont ALT-1Z…the latter the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School custom version.

  10. I’d be willing to bet that if we thought about it, the reason most of us guys don’t care for buying jewelry (even as gifts) is because we always walk away from the sales counter feeling like a sucker.

    There’s a popular culture myth that “men hate shopping.” That’s stupid, men don’t “hate shopping”, they just generally don’t like the same kind of shopping that women do. Shopping for clothing, furniture and housewares is something that most men (me included) regard as a chore.

    Men like shopping for “men stuff:” Power tools, motorcycles, guns, sporting gear, etc.

    IMO the reason most men don’t like shopping for (or buying) jewelry is because unlike the things mentioned above, we have no way of comparing values or knowing when a price is good or a rip-off.

    I’d guess most of the readers of this blog have no problem comparing the relative value of, say, a Springfield or a Taurus; A Smith & Wesson or a Ruger; A Savage or a CZ. And we don’t always buy the cheapest or the most expensive, but we have a good idea of knowing whether $XXXX is a “good price” for this or that gun. We walk away from the sale feeling like we got a good price because we are confident that we know, for example, what makes a Kimber “better” than a Springfield or a Llama.

    It’s the same with other things we buy: Tools, automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, kayaks, fly rods, etc.

    Speaking for myself, I’d rather buy my wife a fancy SIG 238 for $750 than a diamond pendant for $200, because I KNOW what a SIG 238 is worth, but I honestly can’t tell the difference between a $200 diamond pendant and a $25 Wal Mart special. They both look shiny to me and that means that after I spend that $200 I feel like a sucker because the salesman might well have sold me $25 worth of jewelry for $200 and I would have no way of knowing it.

    Jewelry sales thrive on two things: Ignorance (of the actual “cost” of jewels) and of course, guilt (“Only $500? Wow, I thought you LOVED her!”)

    BTW it’s funny that this is coming up now – wife and I are taking our Covid-19 “time out” to catalog and photograph all our valuables, and the wife’s conclusion (God bless her!) is that she has “way too much jewelry.” She even said “for God’s sake, don’t buy me any more jewelry, I already have more than I’ll ever wear.”

    Twice during our marriage I’ve gotten her guns for Valentines’s day. And I’ve told her if she ever wants another all she has to do is ask, I’m more than happy to buy her another gun if she wants one.

  11. I think natural beauty is best.

    A barefoot woman carrying a baby is exquisite.
    Remote ThirdWorld villages have more lovely ladies than downtown Manhattan or Frisco California combined.
    A woman with alopecia or bald from chemotherapy is exquisite.

    The latin fad of piercing ears on new-born girls is mis-placed nepotism.
    Tattoos detract from the innate sensuality of the feminine form.

    The model in the second picture would be interesting fresh from the shower, her hair damp and her eyes sparkling.
    As-is, she merely stands as a showcase for the jewel-artist’s talent.
    Her beauty is wasted.

    And speaking of this latest ChiComCon flu, gals look great with much of their faces covered.
    It is all about the eyes.
    I noticed this after the dental hygienists wore similar masks to clean my teeth years ago.

    Hair — unnecessary.
    Baubles — unnecessary.
    A nice rack — I can see the appeal.
    A flat tummy and dancer thighs — the combination indicates a practical use as a genetic carrier… and adds to the ‘yummy’ factor.
    But jewelry?
    The point is lost on me.

  12. I like sparklies small and discrete. They should enhance the woman, not vice versa.

  13. Regarding time devices in general. I prefer analog over digital.

    I had a digital watch once and found I was frequently late for appointments. Then I discovered digital time pieces are one dimensional. They only tell you the time RIGHT NOW.

    Analog time pieces however, in only a brief glance, tell you the time NOW and the time before and after.

    IOW, if I have an appt at 9am and look at the analog clock and see it is 8:30 I know I have to leave right now because 9am is only 30 minutes away. Yes, you see ALL that in just a glance.

    A digital doesn’t do that immediately, you sorta have to figure it out, and if you’re doing a bunch of other stuff to get ready for said appt that brief mental math exercise might not get done properly. I wonder how different it is for people that grew up absent analog time pieces, knowing only how to tell time digitally.

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